Melissa and I attended a Games For Change workshop, a brainstorming session to kick off the 2010 Games For Change Festival here in New York and hosted by the Non Profit Commons in Second Life (NCSL).
Many of those attending had built games for nonprofits (including the World Bank!), and some represented organizations such as IBM that are interested in the idea.
The portion of the discussion that I felt I could contribute was this: what can games do for a non-profit? Nancy Goldstein phrased the issue this way: many remember having to teach organizations the difference between a blog and a press release. Many remember organizations that simply published press releases on blog, a colossal failure and a missed opportunity to engage people. So what can a game do that a press release cannot do?
Continue reading ‘Thoughts on Games For Change’ »
I had the opportunity to hear Jacqueline Novogratz speak about her new book The Blue Sweater. You can hear her speak at The Aspen Institute here in a program called “Murder, Philanthropy, Blue Sweater.”
The book is the story of the events that led her to found The Acumen Fund, a philanthropic venture that invests in change instead of making grants and donations. The idea is to require results.
What makes this book stand out is that it was really written by its author. Many such books are written in a generic voice that show the influence of an editor or ghost writer, but The Blue Sweater is written in the voice of Jacqueline Novogratz. It is not the voice of a professional writer (though she is an excellent speaker) but it conveys honesty and emotion.
Another element that makes this book stand out is its honest description of failure. Novogratz had to make several mistakes before she founded the Acumen Fund, and these are described in detail.
Finally, there is the Rwandan genocide. Unlike most accounts that focus on the victims or focus on the policies, Novogratz knew people on both sides — a few of them — and describes the situation with empathy and without easy answers. She even knew one woman who was a vital key to ensuring that the genocide happened and has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Continue reading ‘Book Recommendation: The Blue Sweater’ »